Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Free Write!

Now that we are into the 3rd trimester it is time to begin to get really serious about sentence writing. At the recent Parent-Teacher Conference, the importance of writing was discussed as well as how our writing has progressed from the copying to the dictation of the individual letters in words to the use of Circle Maps to now making Tree Maps. Being able to simply 'write off the cuff' is not an easy task. This is MUCH more difficult than any other type of writing done thus far, particularly for English learners, so additional practice is necessary.

Thinking Map activities have been included on the website but these are not the same as 'free write' activities. Free writing activities are not structured and because of this, the more opportunity your child has for practicing this the better it will be (especially as we get closer to the May Writing Proficiency Test!). The following are some ideas for providing children with 'free write' ideas.

Note: In May, the Writing Proficiency Test is administered and Thinking Maps are not permitted. A test prompt (topic) is given and the child must write all by him/herself. No help can be given. Period.

Colouring Book
If your child adores Dora the Explorer or Spiderman or the Disney Princesses, go out to Target or Walmart and get a $2 colouring book. Cut out one of the pages from the book, have your child color the page, then say, "What is happening on this page? Tell me what's going on." Children have great imaginations are often more than happy to share their thoughts about what is happening in their drawings. Whatever the child's response is, tell him/her, "GREAT~Let's write it down!" The response becomes the journal entry, word-for-word.

Family Activities
If the family does something special together (goes to the beach, has a picnic at the park, visits relatives, etc.) upon returning home, ask your child, "What did we do today? What was your -favorite-best-etc." or have your child simply tell you what the family did. Then, based on the response, this is what becomes the sentence(s).

TV/Movie Show
After watching a particular tv or movie together, have your child describe what happened, who the characters were, what the setting was, etc. You can use the 5Ws (who, what, where, when, why/how). This can be used to form the basis for the sentence.

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